1910s-1920s shawl collar mackinaw

This vintage mackinaw coat was made in the 1910s-1920s. It is made from a blue, green, red and gray plaid mackinaw wool, in a double breasted cut, with a broad shawl collar, handwarmer pockets, flapped cargo pockets and belt loops. As was typical for these early production mackinaws, this one is unlined. The particular detailing found on this example, in combination with the unusual plaid are hallmarks of an earlier mackinaw. More vibrant color schemes were generally more popular earlier on, losing ground by the later 1920s to more sedate patterns, while the shawl collar, save for the horsehide trimmed railroad versions, generally fell out of favor by the early 1930s on double breasted mackinaws.

Chest (pit to pit): 25″
Shoulder to shoulder: 19-1/2″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 26-3/4″
Length (base of collar to hem): 35″

Mackinaw fabric, as well as mackinaw coats, trace their name back to blankets used in the fur trade by the Mackinaw Fur Company, headquartered at Fort Mackinac. As with the point blankets made by the Hudson’s Bay Company, Mackinaw blankets were made in an array of bright colors and garish patterns. Originally favored by native Americans and fur traders in the area, the coats gained near immediate acceptance among lumberjacks in that area’s logging industry. Whether cut from Mackinaw blankets, Hudson’s Bay Blankets, or from Pendleton Blankets, these coats shared several important features. In a time when men in cities wore overcoats nearly exclusively in cold weather, these coats were cut short, generally with a length of 35 or 36 inches, to allow for freedom of movement. The short cut allowed for extremely heavyweight, warm fabric without the weight associated with a long coat. The bright colors and loud patterns of the blankets favored among these loggers soon found their way throughout the country, first as souvenirs, later as part of nationwide marketing.
Though lumberjacks were primarily of French-Canadian or Scottish-Canadian ancestry, mackinaw cloth owes its origins to Norwegian immigrants. The original cloth was homepun from wool from northern sheep. The early fabric was relatively coarse, and heavyweight, around 40oz. After it was woven, was “stumpfed”, or danced upon with soap and water with wooden shoes, usually accompanied by music and celebration. This process felted the fabric, shrinking it dramatically, and making it thicker, denser, warmer, and resistant to rain and further shrinkage. Commercially produced mackinaw cloth later mimicked this process mechanically. After weaving, the fabric was shrunk and felted (the stumpfing or fulling process) , then napped to give it a thick and fluffy texture, further increasing its insulation value.
In 1912, the FA Patrick company, proprietors of the Patrick-Duluth Woolen Mills of Duluth, Minnesota launched a new, refined mackinaw design. It was double breasted, belted and sported a collar described in the ads of the period as a “nansen” collar. Though the term also existed then, we now refer to this style as a shawl collar. The coat was 35″ long and was available in 24 and 32 oz wool mackinaw cloth, in a wide variety of colors. Salesman Harry Harrington began to pitch the Patrick Mackinaw to clothiers in college towns. “It was not long after that that mackinaws became a fad with students generally, and as the college student invariably sets the styles for young men’s clothing, it quickly spread over the whole country”. The early mackinaw trend was marketed in a similar way to the current workwear trend, trading on the rugged associations of the workers for whom the garment was originally designed. The mackinaw fad boomed, and shortly, a number of other manufacturers sprung onto the scene, producing mackinaws of varying quality from a variety of cloths. Large quantities of Patrick mackinaws were sold through such high end stores as Brooks Brothers, Rogers Peet, Wannamaker, Abercrombie and Fitch, Brokaw Brothers, and A. Raymond.
It is around this 1912-1913 period where the name “Mackinaw” begins to be more associated with the short, double breasted, shawl collar style, and less with the mackinaw cloth material from which it was made.
The Mackinaw was re-branded once again, marketed to farmers, children, hunters and outdoorsmen, workers, and sportsmen. Its durability, warmth, low price compared to comparable overcoats or sheeplined coats, made it an easy sell to these markets. Alongside sheeplined canvas coats, shawl collar Mackinaws became the de-facto winter coat of railroad employees.

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1920s-1930s Carss Mackinaw

This vintage coat was made in Ontario, Canada in the 1920s- mid 1930s by Carss Mackinaw. It is made from a distinctive plaid, with caped shoulders, four flapped, buttoned patch pockets, a belted back and a rolled collar. As was typical of work mackinaws of this early period, this one is unlined.

Chest (pit to pit): 22″
Shoulder to shoulder: 17″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 26-1/2″
Length (base of collar to hem): 31″

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1940s two tone Hollywood jacket

This vintage Hollywood jacket was made in the 1940s-early 1950s. It is two tone brown on brown wool, and appears to be home tailored.

Chest (pit to pit): 23″ (doubled = 46″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 19″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 22″
Length (Base of collar to hem): 27″

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Congress Sportswear Hudson’s Bay point blanket jacket

This vintage jacket was made in the 1930s-1940s by Congress Sportswear from Hudson’s Bay Point Blankets. It bears a late 1930s style narrow black HBC blanket label, and Congress’s pre-war style manufacturer’s label. The blankets this one is made from are the earlier, higher quality English made ones. The coat has high mounted button adjuster tabs on the sides, and button adjusters at the cuffs. The stitching on the c.1960s Scovill zipper is non matching, and over a layer of stitching from the original zipper. This Hudson’s Bay fabric was extremely expensive, generally doubling the cost of the coat over a more traditional mackinaw wool, and as such, many of the ones I see bear such repairs, where the original owner has kept the coat in service for decades.

Chest (pit to pit): 22-1/2″ (doubled = 45″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 18″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 23-1/2″
Length (Base of collar to hem): 32″

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1950s Skyline hunting cruiser jacket

This vintage hunting cruiser was made in the 1950s-1960s by Skyline Mens Wear, Inc of Seattle, Washington.

Chest (pit to pit): 23″ (doubled = 46″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 19″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 24″
Length (base of collar to hem): 28-1/2″

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1960s H Bar C western jacket

This vintage jacket was made in the 1960s by H Bar C Ranchwear. It is made of brown plaid wool, with a napped finish. It has a yoked front and back, with a belt-back and norfolk style strapped front.

Chest (pit to pit): 22-1/2″ (doubled = 45″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 19″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 24-3/4″
Length (base of collar to hem): 30-1/2″

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1940s Duxbak Montana Cloth hunting jacket

This vintage coat was made immediately after WWII by Duxbak from their lightweight Montana Cloth. It has two large cargo pockets and a flapped breast pocket. It has a belted back and bi-swing shoulders.

Chest (pit to pit): 25″ (doubled = 50″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 19-3/4″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 24-1/2″
Length (base of collar to hem): 29-1/2″

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